More people are turning to 'recreational' drugs such as marijuana, Ecstasy and cocaine, although drug abuse is generally on the way down, figures released yesterday showed.
The number of drug abusers recorded in the Central Registry of Drug Abuse dropped 11 per cent to 17,555 during last year.
But psychotropic substance users increased from 3,388 to 3,451. The figure was 2,618 in 1995.
The general decline in drug use had flowed on to a lower crime rate and fewer people receiving treatment, the Action Committee Against Narcotics said.
There were also fewer young drug users. A total of 3,135 drug abusers under the age of 21 were reported, compared with 3,656 in 1996.